A bloody tale about a serial killer obsessed with lies.
In Thiede’s follow-up to Time Killer (2013), Max Larkin is back solving crimes. A few weeks after the brutal slayings that took place in the previous novel, Detective Larkin and his partner, Jesse Fairlane, are assigned to a grizzly case involving the double homicide of a professor and his much younger girlfriend. As in Thiede’s previous novel, a pattern emerges, and the detectives soon realize they’re looking at the handiwork of another serial killer. Max and Jessie will instantly feel familiar to readers who’ve read the first entry in the series, but despite that instant recognition, the characters don’t develop as richly this time around. While the two heroes experience some growing pains in their partnership—which has only lasted two months, since this novel is set back-to-back with the previous novel—too much time is spent on the procedural elements of the story, and much of the chemistry that was so palpable in their first outing is missing here. Still, both characters remain likable, and while the bloody trail leads the duo down some dark paths, readers will find themselves guessing at every turn. Interestingly, as the threads of the case begin to come together, readers may actually become more invested in the killer’s arc rather than the growing relationship between leads Max and Jessie. As with Thiede’s previous work, readers can expect plenty of black humor and gruesome murder scenes. Although the action ends rather abruptly, the stage is set for more sleuthing.
Thiede’s flair for procedurals returns, but the lead characters lack the charisma and chemistry they displayed in their initial outing.